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Cultural Materialism of Ghost: Debunking The Prevalence of Women Ghost in Indonesia

*Lalu Ary Kurniawan Hardi  -  Magister International Politics and Diplomacy, Faculty of Political Science and Security Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, Poland
Open Access Copyright 2023 Endogami: Jurnal Ilmiah Kajian Antropologi under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0.

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Abstract
The abundance of folklore, myth, and urban legends in Indonesia that put its central attention to the vengeful character of “female ghost”, delineates clear cultural portrayal about the broad scope of violence that happen to Indonesian women. Avery Gordon (2008) conceptualize ghost as the figurative depiction of inarticulate occurrence and haunting reminder about the repression and injustice that exist in our complex social relations. Concurrently, Cheryl Lawther (2021) suggests that haunting is an animated stages inflicted by the unresolved social violence and oppression. In regards to these notions, this article aimed to: (a) examine the socio-economic impetus that drives the over-mystification towards women in Indonesia, and; (b) determine the factors that perpetuate the haunting narratives throughout the generations. As the demystification attempt to rationalize the answer of these questions, this article will operationalize Marvin Harris’s cultural materialism theory as its main framework. This article argues that the rich narratives about female ghosts in Indonesia are mainly inflicted by the failure of agrarian economy to provide a decent living condition for women. This phenomenon forced women to step outside the traditional gender roles which led to the massification of violence and oppression. These problems remained until present times, which then contributed to the perpetuation of several ghost stories and haunting narratives that reflects the recurring injustice and oppressions towards women. It is concluded that these narratives serve as: (1) reminder about the recurring oppression; (2) exigent call for reconciliation; (3) pre-emptive narratives for deterrent, and; (4) lesson learned for future improvement.
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Keywords: women; haunting narratives; injustice; agrarian economy; cultural materialism

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